News / USA

    Apprenticeships Offer Job Security in Uncertain US Economy

    Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Worki
    X
    Aru Pande
    February 04, 2016 12:39 AM
    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Aru Pande

    Just outside Washington, D.C., future electrical workers are stooped over tables in a Lanham, Maryland, classroom — bending and cutting wires as they prepare to install switches.

    Hands-on skills, apprentice Denise Long says, will serve her well when she is out on the job.

    “What they teach you here, if you take it and keep the knowledge and retain it and use it, it will definitely make you a better worker. And also that increases your chance of keeping a job and everything,” Long said.

    The 22-year-old was not sure what she wanted to do until she saw her older brother go through an apprenticeship program and end up with a full-time job as an electrician.

    Denise Long is enrolled in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union's a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.
    Denise Long is enrolled in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union's a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.

    “My brother was in a financial bind before, but it really helped him keep things together,” Long noted. “It gives you a more stable feeling, you look forward to it — actually being stable and saving up that money.”

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program during which students are trained as electrical and telecommunication workers, while earning a paycheck. They spend one day every two weeks in the classroom and the remaining days on the job.

    Anyone can apply for the program and first-year apprentices who have no experience make nearly $20 an hour with benefits.

    Kevin Burton, assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), says each year, up to 200 graduates enter the workforce with a job that includes health benefits, a pension and, most important of all, job security.

    "College is not necessarily a guarantee for a job," Burton said. "I might go to college and not even pursue the field that my degree is in, which is minimal stability. Here at the Local 26 apprenticeship program, we get to give people a skill that they can do anywhere in the country.”

    Kevin Burton is the assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).
    Kevin Burton is the assistant director of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC).

    Expanding apprenticeships

    Expanding access to such workforce training programs has been an initiative of President Barack Obama, who toured the Lanham training center during a visit in 2010.

    Last year, his administration announced $175 million in grants for 46 public-private partnerships to expand apprenticeships as another path to the American middle class.

    During a September 9, 2014, speech at a community college in Warren, Michigan, Obama announced the new investment, while noting the benefits of such hands-on training.  

    “We want to give workers across America the same chance that you have to get real-world experience that leads directly to a good job. The average starting wage for a worker who’s finished an apprenticeship is now more than $50,000 a year,” the president said.

    During his remarks at Macomb Community College, Obama noted that Britain has 15 times as many apprentices as the United States, on a per capita basis; Germany, 16 times as many. Such opportunities not only make American workers more competitive, he said, but also provide greater financial stability in the long term.

    “Whether it’s through a community college, an apprenticeship program, upgrading your skills pays off. The unemployment rate for those folks are lower, and they’re going to earn more money over their lifetimes,” Obama said.  

    Financial stability

    This stability was a draw for 26-year-old Paul Amancio.

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.
    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union runs a tuition-free, five-year apprenticeship program outside Washington, D.C.

    After serving seven years in the Air Force, he was not sure what he would do after retiring from active duty until he enrolled in the JATC apprenticeship program.

    “It can be tough if you are not working on a skill set to apply to the future employer that you plan on going to. It won’t be tough if you actually try and focus on those skill sets,” the young father said during a break from class.

    Amancio and other apprentices at the center are honing what they hope will be lifetime skills that lead to full-time electrical or telecommunications work and long-term financial stability.

    “A lot of major companies started to take away their pension plans, and that really helped me appreciate the pension plans we have here,” Burton said. “Just thinking when I become older — how am I going to take care of myself? I know the answer to that. And there a lot of Americans who can’t say they know the answer to that.”

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora